Once again the dedicated volunteers with the Lanier Partners of North Georgia—the non-profit corporation behind the annual Pirates Of Lanier Charity Poker Run fundraiser that benefits local children’s charities—put together an outstanding event. Last weekend, the 12th annual poker run on Lake Lanier in Buford, Ga., saw close to 300 boats register for the happening hosted at Margaritaville At Lanier Islands and Lanier Islands Legacy Lodge.
The turnout for the 12th annual Pirates Of Lanier Charity Poker Run was very impressive. Photos courtesy Hamilton Marine Finance
And although an amount raised hasn’t been announced, the event, which was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, is expected to be a huge success not only financially but as a steppingstone for future years. The LPNG has a dedicated board led by president Dale Ozaki, owner of Fish Tales Lakeside Grille at Hideaway Bay Marina in Flowery Branch, and 11 diverse and enthusiastic members, three of whom joined earlier this year. The poker run also has a presenting sponsor locked in for at least a few years thanks to Dane Michael, owner of Lakeside Marine and Motorsports in Gainesville, Ga., who has been a sponsor of the run for several years but stepped up in a big way this year.
“The event was another great one,” said Michael, who ran his DR Performance 32-foot Spectre Powerboats catamaran in the poker run. “We had good attendance locally and from the out-of-towners. The Black Diamond crew came from Oklahoma, which was cool to see being that they rolled in the full fleet in typical fashion. Of course, since it is right here in our backyard, we had a large customer base participating—it’s a super social thing for us. Mechanically we had to make sure everyone was ready, and at the event we had to be present with our customers.
“The poker run means so much to this community,” he continued. “I’m just happy to be able to do my part to help the organization and the charities continue to raise awareness for an event that features such a broad representation of boaters, business owners and more from around the community.”
The charities benefitting from the Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run include Camp Twin Lakes, Camp Sunshine, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, and Edmondson Telford Center.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the Pirates of Lanier Charity Poker Run.
According to Denise Garrison, who owns Merlin Marine in Buford with her husband, Tony, the event was another winner.
“We had such a wonderful time at the poker run this year,” said Garrison, who did the run in The Lady of the Lake, a 1991 Fountain Powerboats 42-foot Signature edition powered by three Merlin-built custom 800SC engines with the company’s blueprinted outdrives. “The event was well organized with plenty of volunteers to make sure everything went smoothly. It was great seeing the variety of participants. The spectators were out in full force, cheering as cruisers decorated to the hilt with pirates, sunken ships and even a giant sea creature came rolling by. We could tell they really appreciated the Black Diamond MTIs that participated.
“We feel some of the big boats and big sponsors will be back next year to give the spectators a great show,” she continued. “It’ll be a win for everyone. I mean what’s better than a boat pirate party at a resort like Margaritaville? Especially one that’s goal is to raise money for kids.”